Friday, July 29, 2011

Captain America: Leading with Values

I just watched the first release of Captain American: The First Avenger in 3D this afternoon. There was a sizeable audience, and I wondered how many adults deliberately took the afternoon off, or played hooky. The three-dimensional glasses sat well on the bridge of my nose, and the visuals were not harsh on the eyes. Avatar was a great movie, however the 3-D feature made my eyes tired. My tickets for today were S$14 a person, twice what a ticket costs for a digital or standard film version – so my expectations were unusually high. Plus, the trailers I watched in recent weeks built up my expectation for a show that had to be comparable to Ironman (same producers).

Without modeling the review styles of film critics, Ebert or Travis, I offer you my homemade review. In a nutshell: Watch the film. It has plenty of action. It answers the question of the protagonist’s/hero’s origin. Personal values matter if you are a hero. Marvel Comic’s Godfather, Stan Lee has a cameo (again, as he did in previous films with his characters). Samuel L. Jackson makes a cameo. Overall, good acting by all lead actors (including the female protagonist). There were adequate action scenes. CGI is kept to a relevant level; mostly on the bright-blue tesseract (a cube in four dimensions). There are enough PG-rated, romantic interludes that may leave you a little heart-broken.

Most comic-book heroes (I’m old school, so sue me) begin with mild-mannered, overlooked, underdogs. However, they are usually people of good heart and head. They surely have something to prove, since they were bullied all their lives. Instead of being sullied by these traumatic experiences, they eventually emerge as the super-hero or the super-villain. No animated series attracts viewership (or readership) if there was no yin-yang, good-versus-evil, plot. What is a good man? How do you stay good? Does good, always triumph over evil?

Leadership Lessons: How often do you take time off to do something outrageous? How often do you engage your sense of adventure? Which values do you stand for? Which was the last heroic deed you performed?

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